This weekend I’ve been up in Northumberland National Park learning how to navigate when out and about on hills and moors. It’s the first step towards (hopefully, some day) becoming a Mountain Leader. At the moment, it’s for my own interest and development, but you never know! 🙂

Navigating near Ingram Valley, Northumberland

The course is a new one, and this was the first time that Paul Robinson and Mark Clarkson from Rock and Roam had offered the course. We ended up covering a lot more than the limited number of skills included on the official Mountain Training page; it was great that Paul and Mark were so flexible.

There were six trainees and two leaders, which was a great ratio for learning. We were doing resections by the end of the first day, which apparently is pretty unheard of for a ‘basic skills’ course! We each had a turn leading a section of the walk on the second day, having to navigate by feature, bearing, and distance. I learned a lot.

I suppose the main thing that the course has given me is the confidence to go out there by myself. After all, you don’t want to be the person that Mountain Rescue have to come and save because you’ve done something stupid. Given my interest in ancient monuments and settlements (there’s loads in the Ingram area) I feel like there’s no problem with me now going up there by myself and exploring.

The next thing is the Mountain Skills course, which will mean having to travel to the Lake District, Wales, or up to Scotland. I’m not sure exactly when that will be, but I’m already looking forward to it!

You can see the photos I took in this Flickr album. They’re unedited from my phone so not of the best quality, but you can get an idea of the terrain – and the wonderful views.